The video game series we haven’t explored enough
For each of us there will always be that video game series we never got round to or missed. We’ll witness numerous articles donning it with positive memories and hailing it a landmark in the history of this medium. But, for whatever reason, whether through a lack of time or stubbornness, they remain untouched.
For this article, six members of the Thunderbolt team share the series they admit deserves more of their time.
One of the most beautiful moments in gaming is in Metroid Prime. Deep into the uncharted alien world Tallon IV, Samus approaches a door like any other. Upon hitting the open button the doors shift open to reveal a stunning ice environment, an orchestral audio song swishing from the speakers and engulfing the player in a lucid moment one could bathe in. A decade prior to this hours were poured into Metroid II: Return of Samus on the Gameboy. Gratifyingly simple in playability and devilishly complicated in environmental design, including an early hidden path that had to be discovered to progress, this is a gem that deserves recognition.
Two Metroid titles that have blown me away. Yet there are many others left unturned. Including the highly acclaimed Super Metroid. Now is as good a time as any to begin the quest of unearthing the rest of the series.
A long time ago I embarked on a quest to stop an evil foe from activating four lighthouses. The first game ends after the second lighthouse is lit. The foe has not been vanquished. The story was not over, and after two Golden Sun sequels I still haven’t returned. It’s not that I don’t like the game. It’s classic JRPG goodness, fresh and nostalgic. The story is well written, as are the characters. Eventually there just came a point in which I forgot most of what happened in part one. It feels as though, to better enjoy part two, I really should play the original again so that I know what’s going on, as opposed to having vague feelings of deja vu throughout.
Metal Gear Solid
Trust me, I don’t have a problem with MGS, but instead of boring you with the common lies of school, work, and relationships, I’ll own up to the fact that my adolescent years had me tied down to the ball and chain of fighting games and JRPGs. During the course of highschool I was able to borrow the first two games, only to have my brother beat them while I occupied my time with perfecting combos or figuring out whatever chocobo game the current Final Fantasy had in store.
This continued on throughout college. I would watch dorm mates get their Snake on while I was more concerned with putting in enough time for Tekken and Capcom vs. SNK 2.
Somewhere out there, a MGS fan has already deemed me a bad person. I’m just a victim of circumstance.
XCOM is one of the few videogames I’ve played which required no iteration. The original left no room to expand. There would only be room to stray from the course. It’s a deeply strategic and thoughtful title and can play out in such entirely different ways that I’ve found the original provides enough replay value that when I want XCOM, it remains the primary solution. There are some videogames I like better on the PC but not very many that make a stronger argument for the platform. And while I’ve lacked interest in what minimal amounts I’ve seen of the MicroProse sequels, it’s been long enough. There’s enough design choices made obtuse by time that I find myself eager to try Firaxis’ interpretation. You couldn’t ask for a better developer or a series better suited to a developer’s strengths. And once again, I see no way for XCOM to be anything else than what it’s become under Firaxis.
Super Mario Galaxy
Despite universal critical acclaim in a generation where the traditional 3D platformer has been all but absent, my lack of experience with the Super Mario Galaxy titles is unforgivable. With preowned Wii’s being available for the sub-£50 mark over the last year, it’s perfectly possible to pick up a copy of the original 2007 game with the hardware for a fraction more than a new retail release. Is it the commitment of investing in a new console that’s acting as a barrier between me and my potential New Favourite Game? Most likely. Will I ever clear that hurdle? Absolutely, but in the mean time it seems simpler to pine for the revival of Jak & Daxter.
Thief is a franchise that I know I would love. I’ve dabbled with two (The Metal Age, Deadly Shadows) of the three entries but never finished any of them. Back during the 3D accelerator boom around the turn of the century my Dad got a new, then top-of-the-line, Nvidia card – mostly to play Microsoft Flight Simulator. Bundled within was Thief II: The Metal Age, a game I had heard of but had no real experience or knowledge of; I took to it immediately. It filled the void left in my PC gaming world after Deus Ex, as I dusted off the first-person stalking skills I’d recently accumulated. However, for one reason or another, I never finished The Metal Age – I seem to remember a bank-like level with a swath of medieval machinations that kept killing me over and over. And, eventually, I moved on, falling for the feminine wiles of Cate Archer and later using my PC for little more than Counter-Strike and Roller Coaster Tycoon.
With Thief 4 theoretically still on Eidos Montreal’s horizon, now is the time. I know what’s there was built for me, and after donning Corvo’s robes a month ago in Dishonored, I think it’s time to dust off my quiver and return to the shadows, finally giving Garrett the time he clearly deserved.